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P""l "^HE life of Cairo is a life in two worlds. One moves 1 into the ancient Arab world as soon as one begins to I walk eastwards from its great central square, the
JL Ataba el Khadra, and one returns to the modern European world as soon as one begins to walk westwards. It is a strange life, this, where Orient and Occident^ medieval and modern, Eastern colour and squalor and Western greyness and cleanliness, meet and face each other under the kresistible pressure of our times.
And it was in Cairo that I discovered mediums and magicians, soothsayers and astrologers, sorcerers and fortune-tellers, fakks and holy men in plenty. They were there in all of thek fifty-seven varieties, despite the frowns and restrictions of a Government which had shown its displeasure by forbidding most of their activities by law and which does not hesitate to put this law into action quite frequently. I must confess that, despite my sympathy with some of the subjects concerned, the Government had every provocation in imposing these restrictions. Charlatans preyed upon the credulous, kresponsible babblers were listened to with awe, and self-deluded seers were accepted at thek own valuation* The harm that was done by fortunetellers whose prophecies were taken as guides of action will never be known to its full extent, but it was sufficiently known to force the Government's hand. There were, however, a few characters whose personalities interested me apart from their profession. There was a wizard who killed a hen before my eyes by his invocations and magic; there was a Sudanese negress witch-doctor who accurately named India as being a country of great good fortune to me and then made some totally inaccurate predictions; there was a young Egyptian of Syrian Christian ancestry who firmly believed he was a reincarnation of the prophet Elijah and who completely lived